Tag Archives: haibun

Of This World review in Blithe Spirit

Thrilled to discover in the pages of Blithe Spirit, (vol. 27.2, 2017) Journal of the British Haiku Society, a wonderful review of my book!
I quote:
‘overall impression is Brilliant!’; ‘many a gem’; ‘words that weigh you down with the truth in them’; ‘I can confidently say that it has the navarasas (the nine emotions in Indian aesthetics)’.
A big thank you to the editor, Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy.
Of This World
Of This World is available from
Amazon Europe: http://amzn.to/2iT7PJx
Red Moon Press, USA: http://bit.ly/2jebbD7

‘Fish Bowl’ in KF7

 

The simulation hypothesis is not new. The idea that we are being held inside a complete, self-sustaining simulated biosphere, observed, and made to believe it is real has precedents in earlier times. Tweaking the basic idea here and there, we can trace it to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: chained prisoners presented with mere shadows of the real world take them to be the real thing and refuse to believe otherwise. Plato sowed the seed of doubt in the world of experience. Can we ever go beyond the chains of our existence and into the light of the sun? And at what price? Is our existence woven with elements of both, sun and shadows, reason and fantasy, fact and fiction?

Millennia later, we are still wondering. But here, now, with the Church tower bell ringing the hours, sunlight throwing the olives on the table into relief, and grilled sardines scenting the air, the question whether this is the real world can wait.

silver leaves—
the ebb and flow
of time

.

KYSO Flash Issue 7: Spring 2017

 

‘Out of This World’ in Haibun Today

Out of This World

Haibun Today

In the deepest of dark nights, the idea that we may be living in a computer simulation created by a higher intelligence appeals to me. I muse over the possibility that we may be simulated beings living in a ghost world without realising it!

What if the simulation hypothesis were true? What if we really lived in a version of Plato’s Cave: unable to see beyond the projections on the wall of our senses, we became captives of our perceptions. How would we ever be free? Would there be a way out? Even if a wise philosopher, daring scientist, or escaped prisoner were to tell us of the real world outside our cave generating the projections, we wouldn’t believe them.

Assuming there’d be some way out of the simulation, in those sleepless nights I think of possible glitches in the system, devise tests. This is my latest: try watching pools fill with rain, the noon slide towards evening, the inexhaustible torment of the sea: if you can bear their beauty, be well. If you can’t, you are sure to be out of this world.

revving up the engine
despite the rain
because of it

In Haibun Today Volume 11, Number 1, March 2017

‘Touching’ bringing poetry & science together

Touching

Imagine your left hand is being made to feel a brief vibration and you’re being asked to estimate how long this vibration lasts. In one version of this scenario, you are holding a small ball in both hands; in another, your right hand is free. And in both versions, you see a safely suspended, potentially catchable ball moving towards you.

Would your estimate of the vibration duration be the same in both versions, or would it be different? Scientists tell us that we overestimate the duration of the vibration when our right hand is free.

Of This WorldSurprised? The scenario may sound unlikely, but all for a good reason: the investigation of the experience of tactile time. Perhaps unlike other bodily times, touch time appears as if time slowed. Your hand is free and ready to interact with the possibilities of a touchable object. The present moment gathers momentum: memories, anticipations, balance, co-ordination, visual cues… the time your father threw you a ball to catch, your sister’s expert throw, your playful nature entertaining the idea to catch the ball and surprise the scientists… Time slows for the possibilities; time slows with possibilities. The ‘touch’ body and the ‘touch’ mind ready themselves for the game.

infinity
a deer appears at the edge
of the woods
*

Bringing poetry and science together!

This haibun is from my new book Of This World (Red Moon Press, 2017) and appears on the LMU site MSense .

Of This World is also available @ Amazon  Germany and the UK

‘Touching’

Serendipity! On the day I was informed that my haibun Touching —inspired by a scientific project carried out at LMU university Munich — would be featured on the LMU website, I came across an article in the New Statesman discussing the close relationship between poetry and science!

Take a look: the haibun Touching, included in my new book Of This World (Red Moon Press, 2017), at the LMU here and here and the New Statesman article here

LMU, MSense lab,psychology,

OK, may be not so much serendipity, as I often check out writings about the relationship between poetry and science, and have even contributed to a couple of papers on precisely this matter. The papers are forthcoming, watch this space …

Greek Dinner Around the World and Food for Thought

Each year around the 15th of January, Greek Dinner Around The World Day, I am reminded of The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus (624 – 546 BC), who is credited with the saying,

A sound mind in a sound body

How true! Research from many scientific disciplines has been confirming Thales’ saying ever since. Encouraging us to take up exercise of all sorts to keep the blood moving, arteries in good nick, and prevent harmful tangles from forming in the brain, scientists have gone out of their way to emphasise prevention. In this endeavour,  the Mediterranean diet  has been a major pillar, oiling the wheels of the temple to the mind!

Greek Dinner, Of This World,

In the context of this close relationship between physical exercise, bodily well-being, mental equilibrium, and the ability to enjoy life, you can imagine the enthusiasm with which I am taking part in this global event.

Admittedly, the main goal is wider: to celebrate Greek culture, Greek cuisine as it is known in every part of the globe, and promote the people, authors, chefs, travel and other businesses connected to Greece. Partners to this initiative host a dinner using Greek products and Greek dishes, share experiences and photos of their event, and tweet using the hashtags #GreekDinner, #GreekDinnerAroundTheWorld, and #EatGreek.

This year I took part by sharing a delicious Greek meal with friends and family. And books, of course. We met at an old favourite restaurant and I brought my latest book, Of This World (Red Moon Press, 2017) — a collection of haibun (prose with poetry) with several poems on Greek themes / settings — to the table.

The food was exceptionally good – the company excellent. The only problem was the usual problem: we all ate a little too much. Like every year, we were reminded that after a point, the amount of food, and drink, interfere with both body and mind! Once again we resolved to follow another Greek saying: the Aristotelian

Παν μέτρον άριστον, i.e., Everything in moderation

Many thanks to Keri Douglas for her tireless efforts in promoting this event.

και του χρονου
and if you are interested in a copy of my new book:

Amazon UK

Amazon Germany

Red Moon Press (USA)

Of This World, just released by Red Moon Press!

Delighted to announce that Red Moon Press just released my haibun collection, Of This World

Of This World

Stella Pierides has cultivated a terse, idiosyncratic style in her haibun that is instantly recognizable, and as a consequence is one of the shining lights of this burgeoning genre. Of This World certainly is, but it also takes us out of the world at large and into private spaces we feel privileged to witness. A unique and satisfying read.

 

Red Moon Press
Amazon Europe
Amazon UK

I am grateful for the generous comments:

This is how it’s done! Stella Pierides — in a hushed voice — takes me through what it is to be human — and part of the human history from the roots of Western culture in Diogenes’ tub to the ‘modern’ human — with all the questions and doubts, the uncertainties that come from that.

— Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Writer

Of This World’s marvelous, emotionally resonant haibun are steeped in the grace of the garden, rooted in a physical reality so sensuous that you can smell the fragrance of baking bread, of olives and garlic, of lemon and magnolia blossoms — and yet they also spiral on the updraft of metaphor as poet Stella Pierides ‘put[s] our hearts in the shoes of the hummingbird.’

— Clare MacQueen, Editor-in-Chief, KYSO Flash

A treasure trove of language and image. Pierides walks through dark streets of history, through alleyways of memory – emerging in shiny, unexpected places. Compact, urgent and closely observant, these minute offerings will captivate readers of both poetry and short fiction. An enormously engaging collection.

— Michelle Elvy, Writer and Editor

*
Of This World
ISBN: 978-1-936848-80-5
Pages: 124
Size: 6″ x 9″
Binding: perfect softbound

‘Being Remembered’ in Haibun Today

Being Remembered

Salting is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. Fish, meats, cheeses, cabbage, olives have been cured, brined, pickled to protect them from fungi, bacteria, and other harmful organisms, and thus keep them fresh for longer. Still, it comes as a surprise to read of one more entity to be preserved in salt: memory.

A project titled Memory of Mankind aims to preserve humankind’s most precious milestones by engraving them on special ceramic tablets, and then storing them in salt-lined vaults deep in the Austrian mountains. Small tokens engraved with a map pointing to the archive’s location, and other information helping our descendants decipher the tablets, will be strategically buried around the globe. And what will future generations find to define us? The article suggests sacred texts, treatises, classics, scientific articles, images of buildings, paintings, musical scores. And individual histories, family albums, recipes.

My list would include my daughters’ photos and paintings, multiple drafts of a haibun, favorite poems, a pin cushion and thimble, an amber komboloi, an oil lamp, a pot of basil; my grandmother’s piece of the Holy Cross, the sound of the sea . . ..

family supper
the same joke for
the umpteenth time

.

In Haibun Today Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016

Memory of Mankind website

 

 

 

 

The Path

The Path

Painting,The Path,haibun,Maria Pierides,haiku,Port Isaac,Amorgos,

 

 

At the top of the stairway snaking up the hill, a white-washed chapel and an olive tree. Blinding sunlight. Some way to go yet. The stony stairs are narrow, a couple of hands-width before the cliff falls steeply into the sea.

Slow down, there’s no hurry. Take a deep breath. Feel the rough warmth of the rock. The wind beating against it raises the fragrance of sage, of thyme and marjoram to the skies, erases the silence.

marble wings—
in the distance
windmill ruins

Feel the salt on your lips, the urgent wind tussling your hair.

This history book under your arm, so well-thumbed, leave it here, against that rock, someone coming after you might linger, take a look.

pillars of salt—
propping her foot
on a stone

And the pebble from Amorgos you kept in your pocket all those years, add it to the cairn over there, where the path widens. Let it go. The trail is moments like this, following the light, teetering on the edge of your desires, of your sorrows.

That bench at the top, see it now, under the olive tree? This is your goal. You can rest there. Wise, gentle Persephone will hold your hand.

embalming my tongue
I rest in the shadow
of the silver-leaved olive

Author’s commentary:

stella-pieridesHaving left Greece in my youth, I keep returning to it in my writing, visiting and revisiting the landmarks and landscapes of the country.

Time has a different texture in and about Greece. Sculptures solidifying the past appear at every corner, at every museum: looming, teasing, reminding. Accompanying us into the future. There’s no escaping the sculptures, the poets know it:

“… I woke with this marble head in my hands;
it exhausts my elbow and I don’t know where to put it down.”

Seferis, Mythistorema 

and

Ritsos approaches the sculptures from different, mythical angles, turning the people and landscape into eternal presences:

“…Nowadays, we don’t think much
about Theseus, the Minotaur, Ariadne on the beach
at Naxos, staring out at the coming years.
But people still dance that dance: just common folk,
those criss-cross steps that no one had to teach,
at weddings and wakes, in bars or parks,
as if hope and heart could meet, as if they might
even now, somehow, dance themselves out of the dark.”

Ritsos, The Crane Dance

In The Path, honoring these roots, I try to present this aspect of my Greek inheritance. I fail, of course, but proud to be trying.

Painting “Golden Light, Port Isaac” by Maria Pierides

In Blue Fifth Review, Broadside #44 Fall 2016

“Joining the Dots” in Haibun Today

Joining the Dots

From the compensation for the demolition of his house to make way for a new road, he bought two tiny apartments, a four-poster bed, an amber komboloi, and a pendulum clock. As a child, I considered the wall-mounted, cherry wood, chiming clock to be my granddad’s most striking acquisition. I checked it continuously, comparing its time to the watch my dad had given me before going away to sea.

approaching wind knots matter

But it was the sound of it chiming the hour that stayed with me the longest. Half a century later, I can feel the deep resonance of that chime opening doors to the past.

let’s say the map shrinks afterwards

In Haibun Today, 10: 1, 2017

Pandora’s Box

Pandora’s Box

I step inside a second-hand store in downtown Athens. A musty odor envelops me. A yellow handbag, by the entrance, has pride of place. Plastic dolls of varying sizes, unclothed but for the price tag, line a shelf. Rows of scaffed shoes, and shoes never worn, line the skirting board. Shirts, trousers, blouses, and skirts hang from circular rails. Moths dance in the sunlight. I run my hand across the clothes and continue to the back of the shop, to the books: Fiction, Poetry, Classics, Biography, Bibles. I duck to avoid a doll in military dress.
A glass-topped drawer catches my eye. Sparkling pair after pair of earrings: pearl, gemstone, silver, gold, diamond. I didn’t expect such quality.
The owner, dressed in a beige cotton tunic, approaches. “The Junta General’s wife,” she tells me. “After the trials she could not wear them. Brought them here. In all these years, nobody will touch them, although they come and look.”
A shadow of suspicion crosses her face. She looks me up and down, then relaxes. “Pity. She loved poetry,” she says, fanning herself.

bitter olives . . .
sound of a key turning
in the lock
.

In Haibun Today vol.9, 4, 2015

KYSO Flash Anthology of Haibun and Tanka Forms 2015

Clare MacQueen just announced the publication of the KYSO Flash Anthology, featuring prize-winning haibun and tanka. My own haibun “Time,” which received an Honorable Mention (in November 2015), is included.

KYSO Flash 2015

This is how KYSO Flash describes the release:

We’re pleased to announce the release of a little book with a mouthful of a name: the KYSO Flash Anthology of Haibun and Tanka Forms 2015. Contributor copies are now on their way to folks.

This is an international collection of 25 poetic hybrid works by 14 authors (plus images by three artists). Works were judged by Roberta Beary, award-winning poet and haibun editor of Modern Haiku, for the first annual KYSO Flash “Best Of” contest. Cash prizes were awarded to seven artists for First, Second, and Third Place, and Honorable Mentions. The judge also selected 19 finalists to appear in this anthology.

The book is available from Amazon.com

‘Intertextuality’ in Sonic Boom 4

Pleased to see my ‘Intertextuality,’ a haibun diptych, in issue 4 of Sonic Boom, published under ‘Fiction.’

Issue 4, is an anniversary issue. Happy Birthday to Sonic Boom, many happy returns!

Intertexuality
(a diptych)
I
A reader asks for help with a patch of garlic plants forgotten and left to overgrow in their garden. Well, I say, dear reader, we are caught between a rock and a hard place. Garlic doesn’t like to be transplanted. And this text is not the right place to ask, or answer such a question. But I can’t resist. It is spring, after all, and I am stuck for ideas. So, to your garlic clump: Let it be. Let it grow, and when it is ripe and ready, when the tips of the green shoots start to brown, dig the plants out. They will be pungent, crisp, and juicy, the plant oils moistening your tongue. Then plant a few individual cloves for next year’s crop. Enjoy the rest.

writer’s block
the school of life
full of lessons

II

Spelt flour, baking powder, butter, milk, and salt. Mix, pat down, shape into rolls, and bake. Serve with olive oil, and garlic from another haibun to dip the bread into. Enjoy!

a frog jumps in—
intertextuality
for beginners

diptych, haibun,

“Time” receives Hon. Mention in the “Best of Haibun and Tanka Forms” 2015, for the KF Anthology

I must be on a roll! Delighted to learn that my haibun “Time” received third honourable mention in the “Best of Haibun and Tanka Forms” 2015, for the KYSO Flash Anthology due out in December 2015.

Roberta Beary, award-winning poet and haibun editor of Modern Haiku, the judge of this contest, wrote:

Stella Pierides’ haibun shows how time, which is also the title, turned the narrator’s expectations of her life’s autumn upside-down. The haiku at the haibun’s end effectively juxtaposes the images and original word choice in lines 1 and 2, lulling the reader along until the surprise of line 3. At first glance the haiku does not seem relevant to the prose. A deeper reading shows that the haiku echoes and expands the feelings of surprise and mortality elicited by the prose, which is exactly what is supposed to happen in haibun.

You can findTimehere

Taubenfüttern at the 56. Münchner Bücherschau (19. November – 6. Dezember 2015)

Good news! The German edition of Feeding the Doves, 31 Short Stories and Haibun, Taubenfüttern, is ready for the 56th Munich Book Show 2015. I have already delivered copies of my books to the organisers of the event, which will be taking place at the Gasteig, Munich, from the 19th of November to the 6th of December 2015. Drop by if you get the chance.
Taubenfuettern,Feeding the Doves,book,haibun,short stories,
Pünktlich zur 56. Münchner Bücherschau (19. November – 6. Dezember 2015) erscheint die Kurzgeschichtensammlung „Taubenfüttern“ der in Athen geborenen und heute in Neusäß und in London lebenden Schriftstellerin und Dichterin Stella Pierides. Taubenfüttern ist die Übersetzung des englischen Originaltitels „Feeding the Doves“ (Fruit Dove Press, 2013), der international bestens rezensiert wurde.

Aus dem Vorwort: Die Kurzgeschichten in Taubenfüttern „erkunden wiederkehrende Motive der griechischen Psyche und verfolgen diese zurück auf die besondere Geschichte und Position des Landes. Die Witwe, der alte Einzelgänger, der Immigrant, der Schriftsteller, der Grieche in der Diaspora: Sie alle erzählen uns ihre Geschichte. Die Geschichte des Griechischseins, des Menschseins. Sie sprechen von Liebe und Verlust, Krieg und Bürgerkrieg, Immigration und Diaspora, Emigration, Armut, Religion und Geschichte und vor allem vom Willen zum Überleben. Eins ist ihnen dabei allen gemeinsam: Sie suchen einen Weg aus der Ausweglosigkeit, aus dem Konflikt eines Volkes an der außergewöhnlichen Wegkreuzung dreier Kontinente und verschiedenster Kulturen, aus einer Vergangenheit, die ihren Schultern eine gewaltige Last aufbürdet.“

Neben Taubenfüttern und Feeding the Doves wird der Neusässer Verlag Fruit Dove Press wird mit folgenden weiteren Titeln von Stella Pierides auf der 56. Münchner Bücherschau vertreten sein: In the Garden of Absence (Mikropoesie und Haiku, 2012; ausgezeichnet mit dem Mildred Kanterman Memorial Award 2013, 3. Preis, der Haiku Society of America für 2012 erschienene Bücher) und The Heart and Its Reasons (Kurzgeschichten, 2014).

Amazon.de: http://amzn.to/1WaqAWO

‘Shut-eye’

Have you ever tried to fall asleep in Athens? I have, and I can tell you it is no mean feat. Car horns, car alarms, arguments, laughter, jovial “yia mas,” clinking glasses, people speaking in colourful accents and languages, young men selling flickering toys, women begging, babies crying, restless figures talking to themselves, dogs fighting; ambulances, police on motorcycles revving their engines… the Athenians never stop. There should be prizes for those managing to fall asleep in Athens.

So, when I read a story about disturbed sleep in Athens, I immediately sympathised. The character in the story could not sleep because neighbours had been digging in the pavement outside his window, chatting late into the night. No other sounds seemed to disturb his sleep. In the morning he found out what they had been up to. They had been planting a tree! Unfortunately, the author doesn’t tell us what kind of a tree. Was it an olive? A lemon? Or is he – for he must be a he, don’t you agree – withholding the information in case we start looking into symbols? Never mind, let’s not start obsessing.

on the pillow the night and its shadows

I can provide the tree for our purposes, no problem. But where is the story in the story? Several unspecified neighbours are planting an olive tree in the middle of the night, while as far as the story goes, teeming millions of people in this big city are asleep (how does the author account for the lack of noise in Athens? I don’t know). I can imagine people emerging bleary-eyed from their beds trying to make out what is going on. Asking questions, shaking their heads, crossing themselves, complaining; then what? Going back to sleep in a city that is at its loudest at night? Something does not fit, or rather is well-hidden in this story.

Unless, of course, it is a metaphorical sleep that is meant here. Sleeping as in keeping the peace, turning a blind eye. Wink, wink. Worse, someone turning a blind eye to the hope (planting of the tree, see?) that is being taking root.

Impossible? Let’s consider it. After the worst famine since World War II, after a huge increase in suicide rates, after the vicious psychological attacks on the country, against which, as a nation as well as an individual, it was difficult to defend oneself, the people of Athens, in their global origins and skin colours, in their Babelesque languages, are turning a corner. Things are being said. Planting is being done. The story writer, by ignoring the usual nocturnal noise, and foregrounding instead the hushed, whispering voices in the night, is drawing our attention to something inconspicuous: the barely audible voices of those just starting to communicate a desire to plant something that grows; a belief in survival, in continuity, in building once more a better life…

Planting trees in the dead of night: allusions to hope, to the future, putting down roots, seeds of hope in the dust of despair… see, even hope has to be dispensed in dribs and drabs. Still, whatever you do, don’t close your eyes; or ears.

silver leaves
the olive tree dripping
light
***
Blog Action Day 2015.
This haibun was written in response to the theme #RaiseYourVoice – in support of those who can’t.
Inspired by “Workers Disturb My Sleep in Beijing”
by Salvatore Attardo, published in Cha 
.
#BAD2015 #Oct16 #blogactionday

‘Shadows’

Shadows

I’m walking around the world without leaving home… How? By using a pedometer: it tracks my steps and lets me know weekly the distance I’ve covered. Occasionally, it congratulates me on earning a badge for achieving high step counts (per day) and distance milestones. The exuberant software emoticon that comes with the email makes my day. Earlier on this year, I celebrated walking the length of New Zealand: 1593 km long. A couple of weeks ago, I received a badge for walking the distance covered by the Great Barrier Reef, all 2574 km of it! Now of course I wish I had really been there. On the other hand . . . what is reality?

blood moon . . .
gliding in and out
of earth’s shadow
.
And here are my New Zealand and Great Barrier Reef Badges:
Great Barrier Reef fitbit badge

badge_lifetime_miles990

‘Reporting back’

Reporting back

In case you’ve noticed my absence from my blog, I’ve been working on a book of haibun stories and I am thrilled to report that I am near completing the first draft. Like my previous fiction books, this one is spun around the three poles of self, society, and politics. The emphasis though is different. More about this later. Unusually, for me, the title for this one has been elusive. In the past, I used to have the title before I wrote the book. Not so with this book.
I may be asking for your help to pick a title, though how this could be done without prior knowledge of the book is a good question.
And another thing! A translation into German of my book of short stories and haibun titled ‘Feeding the Doves’ (Fruit Dove Press, 2013) is being readied for printing as we speak. So that you know, dear reader, I haven’t been skiving!

in tune
echoes from the island belfry
reach the mainland

‘Nothing’ haibun at the ‘other bunny’

Nothing

Please don’t read beyond the title. This is not a poem, nor is it a haibun, short story, or flash.
It has no beginning, middle or end. No development of any sort. It is here as a no thing, and by reading it you gain nothing. Unless you make it into something.

petals or thorns
a scratch on the surface
of infinity

Published at ‘the other bunny‘  August 3, 2015

‘Wave after Wave’

. . . endolymph. . . endo . . . interior . . . dreams . . . inner voice . . . nymph . . . Rilke’s “a girl . . . made herself a bed inside my ear” . . . my ear . . . labyrinth . . . cochlea . . . conch . . . shell . . . sea . . . Aegean . . . crashing waves . . . stop! . . . waves lapping the shore . . . sails . . . seagulls . . . shrieks . . . my tinnitus . . . rushing water . . . endolymph . . .

wherever you go
the ship follows you . . .
siren song
.
In The other bunny 

‘Time’ in KYSO Flash

Whenever I thought of the ravages time would inflict on me, I thought of wrinkles. I imagined myself slightly plump, with a few strategically placed wrinkles and a very respectable grey sheen in my hair. I also considered liver spots, imagining myself smiling benevolently behind a seemingly sun-blessed veil of freckles. Now that I’ve reached a point when time weighs on me… let’s say, there have been surprises, indiscretions, indignities. Take the slight pearl that sometimes appears and glistens on the side of my mouth.

honeydew
a blush spreads over the edge
of the precipice
.
In KYSO Flash, May 2015

‘Loving’ in KYSO Flash

In her long life she owned six cats, each living at least ten years. As a child, she was afraid of her first cat, a street-wise tabby. Then she loved chasing her around the house, transferring her fear to the cat. As a teen, she helped a boyfriend taunt the poor thing. She ignored, tripped over, kicked, or spoiled subsequent cats, depending on her phase of life and her mood. Now resting in her recliner, she caresses and speaks to her latest, and only, companion, an ageing, placid ginger, with a gentleness she hasn’t known before.

pear blossom
the lifelong practice of
learning to love

.

KYSO Flash 3, May 2015

Reading and Haibun ‘Shoes’

I enjoyed my reading last night, jointly with other writers, at the Open Reading for Writers event, Munich Readery. Many thanks to the writers for the company, camaraderie, their insightful comments and discussion; and special thanks to Lisa Yarger for so wonderfully, and calmly, hosting the event. I read eight haibun, all work in progress. Here is one of them:

Migrant ship sinking

 

Shoes

With warmer days, newspapers are filling with news of migrant boats from Africa and the Middle East increasing in their numbers, sinking in droves. Hundreds of deaths each week.

We poets, who put our hearts in the shoes of the hummingbird and the beggar poet, the little frog and the mighty spring thunder, the cat and the star-studded sky, are confronted with a reality hard to fathom. I find myself at a loss for words. Reading about other people’s misfortunes, of their fleeing deserts, war, of their placing their lives and their childrens’ lives in the hands of fate, of their washing up on European shores lifeless, I stop writing.

My mind fills with questions: did they leave books behind? A favourite thimble, a tin soldier, a straw dolly? A mug they liked to drink from, a shady spot they loved to sit in, an icon they lit candles in front of? A carpet they knelt to pray on? Did they leave behind many beliefs, nourishing relationships, did they lose their innocence before or during the journey? What happened to their shoes?

snowmelt
wall cracks filling
with shadows
.

Image found in Mashable: Migrant Ship Sinking. Photo: Michalis Loizos, Associated Press
See an interesting article on The Migrant Crisis on Greece’s Islands in The New Yorker

Kader Attia, Whitechapel Gallery

Near Brick Lane and Spitalfields Markets, and amidst the hustle and bustle of a Saturday afternoon crowd, I discovered Kader Attia’s (b. 1970, Paris) new work of art at the Whitechapel Gallery, “Continuum of Repair: The Light of Jacob’s Ladder.” No photographs were allowed, but I took a picture of his taped interview that was shown at the Gallery, which gives you a good idea of the installation visible in the background.

Said to be inspired by the religious story of Jacob’s ladder (specifically Jacob’s vision of angels ascending to heaven), as well as by the history of the room of the installation itself (it was the reading room of a former library), it is a work that engages, questions, moves and, well, speaks volumes!

The leaflet of the exhibit describes,

“a warmly lit cabinet of curiosities above which a vast mirror reflects a beam of light, transforming it into rungs of a ladder to infinity. A series of marble busts of wounded soldiers from World War I and repaired North African wooden learning boards (ketab) observe this towering structure of bookshelves filled with centuries of accumulated human knowledge.”

It is in this context of knowledge overseen and underlined by war and destruction, that Attia’s concept of repair acquires extra layers of meaning, adding depth to our quest for ever increasing heights of aspiration. This work is a detailed and serious reflection on our Faustian search for knowledge and certainty, for ever new ideas and creativity to define our identity, and the illusions, and disillusionment this effort entails. Our ‘new’ creations, placed within the context of history of science, of art, of humanity, are shown to be, on some level, ‘appropriations’, or ‘partial repairs’ of what has come before, what has been previously discovered, then forgotten/destroyed, and lost; on another level, this rediscovery serves as a prompt to humility: our ideas, our achievements are but a part of a greater whole and not so much new, as rediscoveries, archaeological specimens in the cabinet of a wider, richer, and vast cosmos.

It is in this sense that Attia sees himself not as an artist, but as a researcher, looking into the meeting points as well as shifts of meaning between ideas and cultures, appropriation and reappropriation, and repair between East and West. Attracted by the fragility, malleability, and ultimate instability of meaning, understanding, and materials, Attia builds his castles out of all sorts of objects, including plastic bags, foil, couscous. We are all part of this process, he says:

“I like the way it (material) gradually loses its substance. The artist is the shadow of the art work.”

inspiring
the sands of time
in a bottle
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This post is part of a series written for Blog Action Day, to be held on the 16th of October 2014, on the theme of Inequality.

Attia contributes to a body of work that reflects on the effects of human ambition — First and Second World Wars, and their aftermath, of colonial and imperial ambitions — and the attempts to rebuild, repair, and re-appropriate its objects.

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The Guardian review

Independent review

 

‘internet of things’

Bringing technology to life,” the scientists of today create a mechanical, Frankestein-like world, where, everything that can take a “mobile-connected chip” becomes “alive”, and part of the internet of things! Actions, reactions, and interactions in this world are automated and devoid of meaning.
.
internet of things
my toothbrush orders
its own replacement

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Two more reviews of “Feeding the Doves”

Two more reviews of my book “Feeding the Doves“: one on Amazon.com, the other on Amazon.co.uk.

Patty Apostolides on Amazon.com:

“Lyrical and Concise”: “…well written and full of beautiful, touching, and sometimes haunting, melodic stories.”

Read the review by author of Greek Novels Patty Apostolides here
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Dr. Joseph Berke on Amazon.co.uk:

“Feedings the Doves = feeding the soul”: “This is a wonderful, evocative book, rich in imagery…”

The review by author and psychotherapist Dr. Joseph Berke can be read on Amazon.co.uk
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I am putting together quotes from all reviews with links here. Have you read them all?

Feeding the Doves

Feeding the Doves: 31 short and very short stories, and haibun
Available through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de and Kindle
Patty Apostolides on Amazon.com:

“Lyrical and Concise”: “…well written and full of beautiful, touching, and sometimes haunting, melodic stories.”

Read the review by author of Greek Novels Patty Apostolides here 
*
Dr. Joseph Berke on Amazon.co.uk:

“Feedings the Doves = feeding the soul”: “This is a wonderful, evocative book, rich in imagery…”

The review by author and psychotherapist  Dr. Joseph Berke on Amazon.co.uk
*
Katie Low in Sabotage Reviews:

“…characters recall how that sad event shaped their own histories, but the tone is one of hopefulness, of looking to the future and making the best of situations that will always be imperfect.”
“This sparseness extends to the stories individually, which do not waste their limited word-count on scene-setting or extraneous characterisation; each one evokes a mood, makes a point, or charts a phase in an individual’s development without telling us anything more than we need to know.“

Read the whole of what Katie Low has to say here
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Marjory McGinn on Amazon.co.uk:

“Stunning insight into the Greek experience”
“… each story is poet gem, offering … moments of revelation and introspection”

Read the whole of Marjory McGinn’s review here
Marjory McGinn is the author of “Things Can only Get Feta
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Blogcritics: Daniel Burton:

“Unique and surprising, tight and passionate language”
“Every once in a while, I get a book in the mail that is unique from anything else I’ve ever read. As a collection of short stories, Stella Pieride’s Feeding the Doves has given me a new definition of what short means, not to mention how quickly a story can be told… ”
“…references to Greece and its geography and culture, ancient and modern, pepper Pieride’s stories. It’s a wonderful setting for her flash fiction, and I found her writing a refreshing and unique collection.
“Each feels like an intimate glimpse into someone’s life, a brief moment in time. And given that each is so quick, so fast, and yet so personal, it’s saying something that Pieride is able to levy language to create this impact in such sort space.”

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Neos Kosmos Review (Australia’s leading Greek community news source) by Helen Velissaris:

“These stories manage to show universal themes entwined with the Greek psyche to give a new perspective on the Greece in the media’s headlines.
Above all, these stories show Greece isn’t defined by its current bank account, but rather the people that inhabit it.”

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Mia Avramut‘s review on Amazon.co.uk:

“From a symbol of the divine (“A Life-Changing Story), to an object of meditation and near-worship in Syntagma Square (as in the title story), to their possible end in a soup kitchen destined to feed hungry children (“Pigeons”), doves’ journey functions as a counterpoint to the human sacrifice and quest for nourishing truths. Several glimpses into silent, sometimes tortured lives, end in haiku. It serves to deepen the reader’s understanding, and add new dimensions to the prose. And it’s a treat, as Pierides is both an archeologist of experiences, and a mistress of haibun.
Since Yourcenar and Kazantzakis, nobody has illuminated with such wisdom and compassion the often unseen lives that make the humanity what it is: a traveling, travailing organism with feet of myth.”
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Mia Avramut is a Romanian-born writer, physician, researcher, and poetry editor at Connotation Press.
***
About
Having left Greece in her youth, Stella Pierides, the author of “Feeding the Doves”, returns to the country of her birth through a collection of stories that lie at the heart of Greek identity.
About the Book:
Greece has been in the headlines for a very long time. Recently, the headlines have been gloomy and negative, the country facing some of its most difficult years. Against this background, “Feeding the Doves” explores recurrent elements of the Greek psyche, tracing them back to challenges posed by the country’s history, culture, and environment.
The widow, the old loner, the refugee, the immigrant, the young, the writer, the expatriate, tell us their stories, touching upon themes at the heart of Greek being: Love and loss, civil war, immigration and diaspora, emigration, poverty, religion, history and catastrophe, and above all, the will to survive.

“What I admire here are the shining moments of revelation, of truths large and small bursting through the lives and memories of these characters. So many characters, and so rich!”
—John Wentworth Chapin
Founding Editor, 52|250 and A Baker’s Dozen

“Stories to surprise and entertain, to wake and calm, to wrench and elate, to tell the Greek story, past and present, and everyone’s story.”
-—Michael Dylan Welch, poet, writer,
and editor/publisher of Press Here books
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Fruit Dove Press
Email: admin@fruitdovepress.com
http://www.fruitdovepress.com
Perfect softbound
87 pages, 90gm cream interior paper
Full-color laminated cover
129 mm x 198 mm trim size

ISBN: 978-3-944155-03-6

Price: £8.00 UK and EUR 9,00

Available through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de